Two African women harvesting a crop

Achieving Sustainable Food Systems in a Global Crisis

Expanding the original scope of the Ceres2030 project, this project focuses on the interrelation between food systems, climate change, and diets. The results provide options for country-level transition pathways towards sustainable food systems in three countries – Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria.

Can we move beyond hunger and provide affordable healthy diets to all in a sustainable way?

To help answer this question, IISD and IFPRI are taking a deep dive into the nexus of food systems, climate change and nutrition in three African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi and Nigeria. This project builds on the work done in Ceres2030: Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger, and seeks to unpack how we can influence consumption patterns through policy interventions that will lead to better environmental and nutritional outcomes. More specifically, how to improve nutritional outcomes through affordable healthy diets, while using a more climate resilient production system with fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

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The development dynamics and needs of low and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa, involve an increase in food consumption and production to address the nutritional requirements of their populations. This must be done while ensuring the environmental sustainability and the resilience of their agricultural practices.

An initial overview of the current economic, social, and climate trends in the three studied countries, as well as preliminary projections based on the Ceres2030 project model, are available in the country diagnostic reports.  

Currently, none of the studied countries are on track to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This is being made worse by skyrocketing food, fertilizer and energy prices, exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change, and in the case of Ethiopia, the conflict in Tigray. To get back on track and achieve the SDG goals effectively, policy pathways must favour synergies and limit the trade-offs between climate change, food systems and nutrition. 

This project seeks to build the evidence base for how food systems can be transformed to provide affordable healthy diets to all in a sustainable way while building on the models and data collected by the Ceres2030 project and extending our understanding of consumer preferences. For each country under study, we have provided an evidence-based and costed country roadmap for effective public interventions to transform agriculture and food systems in a way that ends hunger, makes diets healthier and more affordable, improves the productivity and incomes of small-scale producers and their households, and mitigates and adapts to climate change.


The project has three components:

(1) Trade-off modeling and costing exercise: To deliver a price tag for public spending, and the donor contribution, associated with the different projected pathways for each country.  

(2) Food demand behavior at the household level: To understand the drivers shaping food demand at the household level and their nutritional implications, including defining what constitutes a healthy diet, and identifying potential food policies and food system innovations to achieve them.  

(3) Country level engagement consultations: To link the research conducted in the previous two other components with the country institutional environment, stakeholders, and national food systems dialogues. There will be four rounds of consultations encompassing a variety of stakeholders from domestic actors to international donors. The consultations are designed to encourage feedback on the project and develop joint ownership of the recommendations with national stakeholders to maximize the use of the findings. 

Consultations with national governments

IISD, IFPRI and Akademiya2063 organised a first series of consultations in order to share the initial results of the research and receive inputs from national stakeholders, with the aim of developing food system pathways to affordable and nutritious diets for all. The consultations were organised as Independent Dialogues of the United Nations Food Systems Summit. More details on the consultations, including the reports, can be found on the UN Food Systems Summit portal -Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria.

More details on the consultations, including the reports, can be found on the UN Food Systems Summit portal - Malawi, Nigeria and Ethiopia

Download the reports PDF from the second round of consultations

Consultation, Ethiopia 

Consultation, Malawi 

Consultation, Nigeria

The preliminary findings from the country case studies were presented at a parallel session at the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit. This event was organised with the country focal points from the three countries: the Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, the Ministry of Public Health in Malawi, and the Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia. A recording of the presentation is available here. 

A further two rounds of consultations were conducted to receive further feedback and inputs from in-country stakeholders on the findings and research approach. 

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission, through the GIZ implemented projects Knowledge for Nutrition (K4N) and Agricultural Policy and Food and Nutrition Security. The project was designed as a contribution to, and to build upon the progress made at,  the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit.

Project details

Food and Agriculture
Focus area